KATIE’S ENGLISH SCHOOL UNDERWAY · The success of a captivating English academy in Durango

With a warm smile Kate Green and Rafa del Amo greet you at their English academy: Katie’s English School. The school is just a year old and yet it gives the impression of already being a classic here in Durango. Boys and girls from the age of 3 years old up to adults can enrol, regardless of their previous level. We spoke with their friendly directors in order to take stock of their services and announce the news for the coming course, after a successful summer campaign. You can find them at Tronperri kalea, 1, bajo, Durango. Katie’s English School’s enrolment period is now open and the course will begin in September. Read on and take a look at how cosy their school is!

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Rafa & Kate.

By the looks of it, Katie’s school has coped well and has managed to withstand the COVID19 lock down whilst continuing to teach its students English online. On behalf of all of your students, we would like to thank the Katie’s team for their effort!

It has been a difficult time for everyone; for our students and their families and for our team, but we managed to adapt quickly and together we were able to continue our classes online. The children and adults have been very happy and have successfully achieved their goals. We would like to take advantage of this means to thank all those who have continued with us during this crisis and for the cooperation of the students and their families. We would also like to congratulate our teachers for their great work and dedication throughout the lock down.

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The school is reopening this course with some intriguing new services on offer. The first as successful as they come: Katie’s Summer Camp, which ended up fully booked… How does it feel to have such a triumphant Summer Camp?

Yes, our summer camp was an absolute success; the truth is that we were really eager to offer this service and we are really pleased to have had such a strong start with this one. The children and their supervisors had the chance to head outdoors every day, play and carry out a wide variety of activities inside and out; ranging from Arts and Crafts to fun Robotics and Science workshops. Each day was a surprise for the children and they really appreciated it after the past months of lockdown.

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And now it’s time to return to face-to-face classes. What do you have to offer for the coming course and how long is the enrolment period open for?

Well, we have a great feeling about next year. We opened the registration period in May and some of the groups are already fully booked, it’s very exciting. We still have some places left and we will continue to assist clients either over the phone or at the school; we open every morning from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. until July 30th. We will reopen on September 1st for anyone interested in September and we begin classes on the 9th. In actual fact, we do not close the enrolment period at all, as there are always students who pop up later or even some who want to sign up mid-course; these people are always very welcome.

As with the previous academic year, our school provides students from the age of 3, teenagers and adults with fun and engaging English lessons. Our main objective is that our pupils, no matter their age or level, forge a positive relationship with the language. In order to achieve a true and complete learning experience, high motivation is essential throughout the lessons and by means of our methodology, we ensure that our students, children and adults alike, experience and feel the desire to participate and learn in our classes. As a matter of fact, we have had extremely positive feedback from many of the families whose children attend our school, as with our adult students, many of whom have already enrolled to continue at Katie’s next September. We are also awfully proud to hear that our students and their families speak so highly of us, as most of our new pupils have come via recommendation.

For the next course, in addition to our usual afternoon classes, we are organising a lunch-time pick-up service at some of the local schools. This will consist of picking up the children during their break, taking them to our school, where we teach them, and returning them to school before starting their afternoon lessons. This is something that could help families who have less flexibility during the afternoon hours or those who would simply rather their children rest and play during their free time. Moreover, the pick-up service will have no additional cost.

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During the quarantine we understand you’ve been very busy researching and testing out new material and resources, it seems you are always developing and improving your lessons. 

We are always looking for new ideas and innovative teaching methods to incorporate into our courses, our goal is to always provide the best possible service and continue to learn and excel, every day, every term and every course. During the quarantine, we all learnt many new skills, especially when it came to IT skills and using new technology. I think it has helped many of us to get to know the ins and outs of working, teaching and learning online and how to manage many tech tools. This has led us to gain access to the digital world, one that is full of resources and one that can be very useful for the future of ourselves, our students, our children and education on a whole.

For instance, during the lock-down we had to start teaching online so in order to provide our students with enough language and practice input, we adapted our website and created a platform full of extra resources available to all of our students. They had access to fun videos for the little ones, links to handy Apps for all levels and ages, a range of activities and exercises for vocabulary and grammar practice and even mock exams to prepare for Cambridge English exams. We plan to continue adjusting and improving our platform so as to supply our students with quality resources for years to come and to optimise their learning experience inside and out of our school.

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And what about your Friday “Speaking Sessions”, we hear they’ve been very successful. Will these sessions be playing a part at your school in the coming course of 2020/2021?

Yes, of course!

Throughout the academic year, being something new to town, our speaking sessions attracted more and more attendees which led us to doubling the sessions so that all those interested could participate. Everyone who had a go enjoyed it immensely and the majority always signed up for the next session. It is most likely that during the following course we will increase the frequency of these sessions, as we love offering them and providing people with a comfortable place to practice and improve their spoken English in a fun and relaxed way.

As it happens, we will be offering a new kind of speaking session, one for children from the age of 11 and another for teenagers up to the age of 17; we present to you our TWEEN and TEEN SPEAKING SESSIONS. These sessions are complementary to the general English classes that we offer at Katie’s and they will be totally focused on developing speaking skills. The classes will take place every Friday; children from 11 to 14 years old can attend one session a week from 17:00 to 17:50 and teenagers from 15 to 17 years old can enjoy their sessions from 18:00 to 18:50. These lessons differ somewhat from the usual SPEAKING SESSIONS for adults because it’s a continuous and progressive course where teens and preteens will need to enrol for the entire academic year. Here, our students will learn through debates, conversation and role-play among many other activities and games and our main objective is that our pupils improve and learn to use English fluently in the real world and with real situations. During these sessions, our children and teenagers will learn plenty of useful vocabulary and phrases from real life and they will come out of the sessions with more confidence as English speakers.

 

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Kate Green.

  

We are really intrigued to know more about what you have to offer very young learners, those aged 3 to 5. You say “Katie’s ignites their first spark of passion for learning and for the language”. How do you achieve this goal?

Well, first of all, it’s important to point out that our main objective always as a learning environment is that our students enjoy the experience in our school. Especially for the little ones, it is essential that they have fun and that they want to come back and spend their time with us. For this reason, we follow a number of fabulous Cambridge English courses for children at each stage in Katie’s School. This gives a solid structure to our lessons, but with enough freedom to adapt the classes and activities according to the students we have in each classroom. At Katie’s, our team invests a great deal of effort and time into getting to know each student with the purpose of personalising our classes and adapting them to the different needs, learning styles and interests each child may show. Through this approach, children feel comfortable and motivated to join in and learn with confidence and to top that, we can guarantee that all their needs are met.

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Considering the current situation with COVID19, how you are going to face this crisis in the new course and what changes will you be making?

Well, to tell you the truth, it is not easy given the fact that the future situation is quite unclear at the moment, for this reason we have thought of several plans of action for any possible difficulties or obstacles that may arise.

What we can reveal for the time being is that we have in fact invested in new equipment and seating in order to guarantee enough distance between students within our spacious classrooms and we have devised necessary health, safety and cleaning protocols so that students and teacher alike can be at ease.

 

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Rafa del Amo.

Finally, we have seen that you have incorporated a new school-home connection for the families of your students.

Yes, as we said previously, we are constantly in search of ways to improve our services and we would like to offer parents a way to be much more involved in their children’s learning and experience at Katie’s School.

We are looking to offer a warm environment in which our students can feel safe, we want to cultivate their confidence and provide the necessary support for each and every student and this is why a stable school-home connection is so important. The relationship between parents and teachers is easy to neglect and we want to change that, we would like families to consider themselves part of the community and to be as involved as ever.

Consequently, our team is working hard to equip our online platform with the means so that parents and tutors can access their children’s assessment and reports, download a wide variety of resources to work on together as a family, receive information about events, such as workshops, intensive courses and camps and last and most importantly, parents will have direct communication with their children’s teachers. Using this tool, parents and guardians will be able to clarify any doubts they have about their children’s classes or learning progress, arrange face-to-face meetings, notify teachers if or when their children cannot attend class and much more.

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“Te esperamos”.

Katie’s English School’s enrolment period is now open and the course will begin in September.

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